Arriaga, Anastacio

Interviewer: 
Mikel Chertudi and Julian Achabal
Interview Location: 
Gooding, ID
Interview Date: 
05/29/02

Anastacio was born on 4 July 1929 to Jose Maria Arriaga and Manuela Gandiaga, on the baserri Arlaban in Bolivar, Bizkaia.  The Spanish Civil War was raging during his childhood, interrupting education, work, and eating habits.  Anastacio recalls bomb raids and looting by soldiers, as well as punishments the townspeople sustained for speaking their native tongue.  When he finished school at age 13, he farmed a little before learning to make beautiful shotguns in Eibar, which, after his mandatory service in the Spanish army, he did for 13 years.

Anastacio wed Miren Arriaga (also her maiden name), and had 2 daughters before moving to the US in 1968 to work as a sheepherder.  His wife and children soon joined him, and the family very much enjoyed life in America, learning English and adjusting quickly.  Anastacio tried his hand at several jobs--at one point even running a restaurant in Gooding--but settled on employment for the Idaho School for the Deaf and Blind for 13 years before his retirement.

Even after all these years in Idaho, Anastacio considers himself to be "99.9% Basque."  His daughters have both married American men, and yet have not become US citizens!  The Arriaga family loves to return to the Basque country, and Anastacio actively participates in the Gooding Basque Association.  The family maintains a home in Bolivar.

Audio Recording: 
Growing Up During Civil War
Sheepherder Test
Basque in America
Other Images: